Sometimes we hit these Proverbs and they’re all CLASSIC
But sometimes they are just SO POWERFUL
Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
HONESTLY THAT IS WHAT SIN IS!!
In so many ways, we can know that SIN IS EVIL
In so many ways, we can know that SIN IS SIN
At the same time, it seems like we think we NEED to choose those sins right now
We sometimes compromise and say, “That seems right. I know it goes against God’s Word. I know it contradicts the wisdom of the Church. But I’m going to do it anyway.”
Proverbs 16:28, “A perverse man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”
OH MY GOSH!!
GOSSIP IS ONE OF THE WORST THINGS IN THE WORLD
Isn’t that true?
Isn’t that true how DEVASTATING gossip can be?
“No, I’m just sharing what I know. I’m just saying. It’s only words.”
THOSE WORDS HAVE SO MUCH POWER TO DESTROY!!
So we pray, “God, help us to follow you and to say yes to you and not to say what doesn’t need to be said.”
But what might need to be said is Jeremiah Ch 32 and Judith Chs 1 and 2
In Jeremiah Ch 32, Jeremiah is imprisoned as the city is being besieged
We know what a siege is, obviously
The Babylonians have surrounded Jerusalem
The idea behind a siege is a WAR OF ATTRITION
At some point, the city of Jerusalem will run out of resources
So the Babylonians are going to wait out there
At some point, the people will be so DEVASTATED that they will GIVE UP
In the meantime, the Babylonians will build these battering rams (GROND! GROND! GROND! GROND! If you get this reference you might just be as big a geek as me 🤪🤓)
At some point, the Babylonians will be able to walk in and completely destroy the people
So the Babylonians have surrounded Jerusalem
Jeremiah is imprisoned by King Zedekiah
Because Jeremiah prophesied against Zedekiah
Jeremiah said, “King Zedekiah, here is what’s going to happen. Nebuchadnezzar is going to win and he is going to bring you to Babylon. You are going to see him face to face, eye to eye. He is going to conquer this land. He is going to conquer this city.”
Zedekiah doesn’t want to hear that so he throws Jeremiah in prison
And then we have this strange story of Jeremiah Buys a Field at Anathoth
Jeremiah is from Anathoth
Why is this happening?
The Babylonians (Chaldeans, same thing) have taken over the land
Jeremiah knows that they are going to conquer the land
NOTHING is going to belong to the Jews
NOTHING is going to belong to the People of Israel
IT IS ALL GOING TO BELONG TO THE BABYLONIANS
The Word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah and says, “Your cousin Hanamel is going to come to you and he is going to want to sell you some property in your hometown. You are going to buy it.”
So then, Hanamel shows up and offers Jeremiah the property
Jeremiah buys it
BECAUSE THIS IS A SIGN
They signed a contract, there were witnesses, they put the contract in a jar, all this stuff
Because here are the People of Israel
Jeremiah has been telling them again and again that the Babylonians will win
Jeremiah tells them to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar
At the same time, the fact that Jeremiah is going to pay 17 shekels of silver for this land indicates that Jeremiah also knows, “God is going to bring us back.”
Now, God is NOT going to bring Jeremiah back
Jeremiah will be carted off to Egypt and he will die there
This purchase of the property is A SIGN that God is going to BRING THEM HOME
THIS IS GOD’S ASSURANCE OF THE PEOPLE’S RETURN
Again, this is bad news that the Babylonians will win
BUT AT THE SAME TIME…
God is going to conquer the Babylonians
Jeremiah 32:17, “Ah Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you, who show mercy to thousands, but repay the guilt of fathers…”
NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR YOU (GOD)!!
Jeremiah 32:27, “‘Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me? Therefore, thus says the Lord: Behold, I am giving this city into the hands of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and he shall take it.”
“You will come back because I am the Lord God and nothing is too hard for me.”
WHAT A GREAT PHENOMENAL WORD FOR US!
“God, whatever I am facing, I realize that nothing is too hard for you. You can do all things, even things that seem absolutely impossible.”
Not only can God DO this
BUT GOD DELIGHTS IN THIS!!
Verse 41 is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL
Jeremiah 32:41, “I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.”
Sometimes we can be tempted to think that God RESENTFULLY does good for us
Sometimes we can be tempted to think that God RESENTFULLY extends his mercy
Sometimes we can be tempted to think that God RESENTFULLY lifts us up
Sometimes we can be tempted to think that God RESENTFULLY gets us through trouble
God says, “I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.”
As Christians, we realize what is the GREATEST GOOD that God has EVER done for us
He became ONE OF US in the INCARNATION
He lived as a HUMAN BEING
He SUFFERED in his body
He CARRIED A CROSS for us
He DIED for us
He DESCENDED to the REALM OF THE DEAD
He ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN after the RESURRECTION
HE GAVE UP EVERYTHING!!
What does God ultimately do for OUR GOOD?
HE GIVES HIS WHOLE SELF
HE OFFERS HIMSELF TO THE FATHER FOR US
SO THE FATHER IS GLORIFIED AND THIS WORLD IS SAVED!!
God says, “I will rejoice in doing good.”
Now apply that to the life of Jesus…
God is saying, “Actually, I rejoice EVEN IN MY SUFFERING.”
God is saying, “I rejoice EVEN IN MY CROSS.”
God is saying, “I rejoice IN MY DEATH.”
BECAUSE IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE!! (🤯 ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??? 🤯)
THIS IS SO PHENOMENAL!!
THIS IS SO INCREDIBLE!!
WE ALL NEED TO HEAR THIS!!
GOD DOES NOT RESENT YOU FOR NEEDING FORGIVENESS!!
WE ALL NEED FORGIVENESS SO MUCH!!
EVERY SINGLE DAY!!
GOD DOES NOT RESENT YOU FOR NEEDING HIS FORGIVENESS!!
GOD DESIRES TO GIVE YOU HIS FORGIVENESS!!
GOD DELIGHTS IN IT!!
Now, on to Judith
It is called The Book of Judith
But we don’t meet Judith until Ch 8
In the meantime, we get set up with the CONTEXT
The Book of Judith is unique
It is part of the Deuterocanonical Books
It is the INSPIRED WORD OF GOD
Judith 1:1, “In the twelfth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh…”
WAIT A SECOND!
Nebuchadnezzar was not the King of the Assyrians!
Nebuchadnezzar did not live in Nineveh!
Nebuchadnezzar was the King of the Babylonians!
Nebuchadnezzar lived in Babylon!
So wait a second!
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE??
We are going to talk about how King Nebuchadnezzar of Assyria dominated everything
Here is Arphaxad who is defeated and all these people
Ultimately we will get to Judith
So what kind of book is this??
ULTIMATELY IT IS A BOOK OF TRUTH
Remember our VERY FIRST BOOKS in Bible in a Year: Genesis and Job
Job is part of God’s Word
Some people say that Job was a REAL HISTORICAL CHARACTER
The events of Job’s life were REAL HISTORICAL EVENTS
There are also people who say that Job wasn’t a real historical person
Job’s stories tell us TRUTHS that are DEEPER than Job’s story
So that DOES NOT DISQUALIFY Job from being God’s Word
Also the The Song of Solomon
Whether it was written by Solomon himself
Or whether it was simply God’s Word communicated to someone who took the pen name of Solomon
That DOES NOT ALTER the fact that THIS IS STILL GOD’S WORD
So The Book of Judith might be something similar to The Song of Solomon, which is not necessarily historical
Or it might be similar to The Book of Job, which might or might not be historical
BUT IT DOES CONVEY TRUTH TO US
One of the reasons we can say this CONFIDENTLY is because EVERY SINGLE JEW who would have read The Book of Judith KNEW that Nebuchadnezzar was KING OF BABYLON, NOT the KING OF ASSYRIA
The very first verse makes it very clear Nebuchadnezzar ruled the kingdom of Assyria and lived in the great city of Nineveh
So the Sacred Writer is setting the stage for saying, “This is not necessarily an historical book. We are going to teach you the truth through this story. The truth of God. The truth of who we are. The truth of how God fights for us. The truth of some really incredible things.”
So you can subscribe to the idea that while The Book of Judith is 100% true, it might not be historically, literally true
IT IS TELLING US THE TRUTH
JUST LIKE THE BOOK OF JOB TOLD US THE TRUTH
JUST LIKE THE SONG OF SOLOMON TOLD US THE TRUTH
What do we have in this?
Judith Chs 1 and 2 go on about how Nebuchadnezzar was just a bad dude
Even if he didn’t really live in Assyria, but lived in Babylon
This Nebuchadnezzar was NOT GREAT
In revenge for people disobeying him, he is going to ABSOLUTELY DESTROY EVERYONE
We also have Holofernes (you can pronounce it HOLO-FER-NEES or HOLO-FRE-NEES...You say To-MAY-toe, I say To-MAH-toe. Well, I actually say To-MAY-toe but this is just to prove a point, settle down 🤪)
Holofernes is willing to do EXACTLY what Nebuchadnezzar asks him to do
Holofernes is quite the sycophant
Another way to say it is that he is a BROWN NOSER (For our international brothers and sisters, a brown noser is a person who flatters another person, usually someone in a superior position, for personal gain 😁)
We are going to leave it at that 😉
Holofernes destroys his enemies, which is what Nebuchadnezzar asked him to do
We will also see why Judith is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT
TUNE IN TOMORROW!! SAME BAT-TIME!! SAME BAT-CHANNEL!! 😉
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER